A young New Zealander is facing crippling health debt after needing emergency treatment for life-threatening pneumonia while in the US.
Amanda Sesio said she was ‘like a giddy teenager’ when travelling to the Los Angeles for a family wedding in late June but was struck down with pneumococcal pneumonia on July 1.
She described being rushed to hospital and placed on life support for as a ‘rollercoaster’.
The pneumonia later lead to hypoxemic respiratory failure, blood infections and a build-up of fluid inside her lungs.
The near-fatal disease would see her accumulate a whopping $207,000 worth of medical debt.
Ms Sesio brother, Shane Tuala, started a Go Fund Me on August 8 to help the young woman with ‘a heart of gold’ cope with the ongoing bills.
‘It was a tough time for us to see Amanda alone in these circumstances,’ Mr Tuala said.
‘Any donation, no matter the size, would greatly help us in covering Amanda’s medical costs and we would be forever grateful for any support we receive.’
The fundraiser has already raised almost $20,000 from 316 donations, including two anonymous donors who gave $1,000 each.
Ms Sesio is only just starting to physically recover from the nightmare experience.
‘It was certainly the biggest challenge of my life and the rollercoaster has although slowed down there are still a few bumps ahead.’
She said the hospital staff ‘massively helped her’ as she faced the deadly disease without the company of friends and family.
‘I hope my payments to the hospital can help honour, thank and remunerate the many amazing specialists, doctors and nurses who saved my life and saved my mental health as they were my temporary little family in a very foreign and at times very lonely place.’
Medical care is the US is infamously expensive with travellers and citizens facing thousands of dollars worth of debt for simple procedures.
Tourists travelling to the US are encouraged to consider purchasing insurance that covers medical costs to avoid accumulating large debt in the case of an emergency.